Greater financial autonomy for local government in Scotland would improve accountability and democracy. The RIC Dundee Local Tax Reform submission to the Commission on Local Tax Reform contrasts local government in Scotland with that of municipalities in many other European countries, where smaller local authorities raise more of their own revenue, exercise far more powers and in doing so strengthen their local democracy, accountability and autonomy.
“The current freeze on Council tax has deprived local authorities of an essential part of their democratic legitimacy and accountability – the right to make their own choices on raising at least some of their revenue.” said submission co-author Sarah Hendry.
In our submission to the commission, we give support to a form of land taxation as a possible alternative to the current council tax system. However, if Council Tax was to be retained, RIC Dundee argue that full revaluation would be required and possibly the introduction of new bands to improve the progressive nature of the tax.
“A local income tax, added to national income tax and National Insurance would place too great a burden on wage-earners. We need a broad tax base and some form of land tax could raise revenue from currently untaxed land reducing the cost for most people.”